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Anika Ryder (Parkwood Middle)

What are your most and least favorite subjects and why?

My favorite core class is English Language Arts. I’ve always loved reading and writing. I feel like it tests me creatively, which I enjoy. 

Overall, at the moment, it’s drama class. It’s a super fun place. Right now we are getting ready for our show The Little Mermaid, so we are making sets and props for it. Previously, we’ve done costume design projects. Earlier this year, we also wrote a play and it was student directed and our class performed it. I haven’t had too much experience with the behind-the-scenes stuff. I find it fun, but I’m more of a performer. 

Science is my least favorite subject. I wouldn’t say I hate it because I like chemistry, but it’s a lot of formulas and random facts that I’m not going to remember. It can sometimes stress me out. Honestly, I pretty much like all of my subjects. 

If you could travel anywhere, where would it be and why?

There are so many cool places. I’m thinking of London. I’ve never been out of the country before. I like a good British accent and I feel like they have a lot of cute towns and shops. It just seems like a great place to visit. Maybe I watch too many British shows. There’s one I was watching whose main character was named Alex and he was a spy.   

Venice, Italy is another place I’d visit to see the gondolas. I’ve also heard the food is good. 

What careers interest you?

When I was younger, I dreamed of performing on Broadway since I'm very theater focused. That was the plan. Now that I’ve gotten older, I’m thinking about directing. I like being in leadership roles and I’ve directed a play before. I might even want to teach drama, I don’t know, we’ll see. Whatever it is, it will be within theater. That’s the goal.

If it weren’t theater, I would consider social work.

What clubs or activities do you participate in? And why? 

I’m in charge of the announcements. I manage them and help to broadcast them or I do the tech. I’m the reporter for BETA Club so I’m one of the officers. In BETA, we ran the Souperbowl of Caring. We collected loose change around the time of the superbowl and then donated whatever collected to the Union County Homeless Shelter.

I am in chorus and I’m the president of the drama club, which started last year. I’m part of the Lighthouse team, which is basically our student council. 

I’m also a part of the environmental club, which is really cool. Last year, I had Ms. Platt for science and she was always talking about composting and recycling. We started doing it at the school, too. It’s so sad that the environment is declining the way it is right now. I feel like there is a way for us to make it healthier so we can bounce back. I was interested in it and wanted to promote change, so I joined the club. 

I’m playing Ursula in our school’s upcoming play The Little Mermaid. There is an out-of-school company performing the full version of Shrek, which just started and I’m Pinocchio. 

I overcomit a bit but it’s doable. I try to get all of my homework done when I have extra time at school. I was just in a production of Newsies outside of school and that was a bit chaotic. It took up a lot of my time. It’s easier when I’m in productions at school because of my schedule. 

If you had to choose between spaghetti or pizza, which would you choose?

I’d choose spaghetti because I love pasta. Any and all kinds of pasta. It might be why I want to go to Italy.

What three words best describe you?

  • Verbose - I talk a lot. 
  • Creative - Acting requires you to imagine and create characters on a profound level, which includes their mannerisms and speech patterns. 
  • Positive - I like to give off good energy.

What is your happiest school memory?

I have so many since I like school. In elementary school, in fourth grade I started in the AIG program (Academically or Intellectually Gifted) and there were about nine kids in our reading group so we were very close. We would sit on the carpet and do sentence analysis every day. I’m a huge nerd so I loved sentence analysis. The fact that we were sitting on carpet with my closets friend and eating goldfish made it memorable.

What advice would you give your parents or teachers?

Generally for human kind, don’t judge people before you get to know them. At school we do Leader In Me, so we learn the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. My favorite is Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. 

I keep coming back to acting but it’s similar. You have to understand a character. When you are up on stage and pretending to be someone else you are projecting who the character is. Leading with empathy first is important because you never know what someone else is going through.